Santee Cooper Catfish Stew


  • 1 lb (450g) catfish fillets, cut into chunks
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 cup okra, sliced
  • 1 can (14 oz/400g) crushed tomatoes
  • 4 cups (946ml) fish or seafood broth
  • 1 cup (240ml) water
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) dry white wine
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (adjust to taste)
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • Chopped fresh parsley and green onions for garnish


As a passionate lover of Southern flavors, I can’t help but share my twist on a classic catfish stew. It’s cajun-inspired, with a Santee Cooper Life touch. Get ready to tantalize your taste buds with my Santee Cooper Catfish Stew!

  1. Let’s Get Started:
    • Heat a Dutch oven over medium heat and add the vegetable oil. Once shimmering, add the chopped onion and sauté until it starts to soften and turn golden, about 5 minutes.
  2. Building Layers of Flavor:
    • Toss in the diced celery and green bell pepper. Sauté for another 3-4 minutes until they begin to caramelize and release their aroma.
  3. Cajun Aromatics:
    • Sprinkle in the minced garlic, dried thyme, smoked paprika, and cayenne pepper. Stir the spices into the vegetables, letting the Cajun magic infuse the air.
  4. Tomato Tango:
    • Pour in the crushed tomatoes, allowing their richness to meld with the spices. Stir the mixture, letting it simmer for a couple of minutes to intensify the flavors.
  5. Liquids of Joy:
    • Add the fish or seafood broth, water, and dry white wine. Gently drop in the bay leaves, creating an aromatic symphony that’s pure Louisiana.
  6. Bringing it Together:
    • Slide in the sliced okra, which will thicken the stew and lend a characteristic Southern touch. Allow it to simmer gently for about 15-20 minutes.
  7. Catfish Crescendo:
    • Gently nestle the catfish chunks into the stew, making sure not to break them apart. The fish will absorb the flavors, becoming tender and succulent.
  8. Final Flourish:
    • Continue simmering the stew for an additional 8-10 minutes, until the catfish is cooked through and the flavors are beautifully intertwined.
  9. A Symphony of Aromas:
    • Ladle the aromatic stew into bowls, each brimming with the heartwarming goodness of the Louisiana bayou.
  10. A Touch of Elegance:
  • Sprinkle chopped fresh parsley and green onions over the stew, adding a burst of color and a hint of freshness.
  1. Time to Savor:
  • Gather around the table and enjoy this tantalizing catfish stew. The Cajun spices, tender catfish, and robust flavors will transport you straight to the heart of the South.

So there you have it – my special Santee Cooper Catfish Stew recipe, inspired by the deep and soulful flavors of Louisiana. This dish is more than food; it’s a journey to the bayou with every bite.


Hunter Cook grew up fishing and hunting all the nooks and crannies of Santee Cooper Country, and learned how to cook at an early age. His unique approach to mundane recipes has earned him favor throughout the region.

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